“I have committed my entire career to providing for a safe community and continue this commitment as a member of the council,” said Aceves, who spent 30 years in law enforcement and rose to the post of major crimes detective in the Santa Barbara Police Department.
Aceves first arrived on the Goleta political scene in 2006, winning a seat on the council in the first full election after cityhood. It was a sticky time for Goleta, which was emerging from its first years of incorporation and facing big changes to its General Plan. The proposed General Plan was a set of development guidelines crafted first by a slow growth-leaning council, and challenged — repeatedly — by a business and development community that found the land-use rules too restrictive to be feasible. Aceves was often seen as the swing vote on a council sharply divided along development lines.
Since then, he’s spent a year as mayor and says he’s strived to be “the man in the middle,” trying to bridge the extremes in Goleta politics. Meanwhile, he’s remained an outspoken critic on other topics, like oil operations off the Goleta coast. Goleta may have grown up somewhat but Aceves says he still has much to offer.
“Goleta is also a young city (that) I feel could continue to use my experience in law enforcement and organizational management,” he told Noozhawk.
Looking ahead, Aceves hopes to continue to apply his skills to longstanding Goleta issues, including Old Town revitalization, the success of which could create a booming neighborhood out of Goleta’s aged, sometimes dilapidated, historic center.
Planning is another longstanding Goleta issue he’s keeping his eye on, with the return of the Bishop Ranch plans to develop the single largest swath of undeveloped land in the city. The land is beloved for its scenic views and historic value, but is coveted for the opportunity for housing.
“Our community must stay engaged in how we maintain our special quality of life as we plan for the future,” he said.
Like most other California cities reeling from the last two years of declining tax revenue and major economic uncertainty, Goleta’s budget has gained importance as the city, just barely in the black, moves ahead.
“Tighter controls on expenses must be maintained, even as we continue to find creative ways to generate income without it being a burden to our taxpayers,” said Aceves, cautioning that the restrictions not come at the expense of police force positions or the creation of a city parks and recreation program. The latter, he says, will go far to revitalize areas and channel the energies of local youth.
When he’s not weighing in on local issues, Aceves also volunteers with Old Spanish Days, where he is a past El Presidente, and with Fiesta Ranchera at Stow House; both events are dedicated to the cultural heritage of the South Coast. He lives in Goleta with his wife of 34 years, Debby. They have one adult son, Tim, who lives in Santa Barbara, and three rescued dogs.
Click here for more information on Roger Aceves’ campaign.